Attorney Adam Milasincic of The Ammons Law Firm has won an appellate victory for the victims of the Cielo Vista Walmart shooting in El Paso.
The case arises out of the 2019 shooting that took the lives of 23 people and injured 23 others. The lawsuit alleges that Walmart owed a duty to the victims of the shooting to provide security to patrol and monitor the entrances and common areas.
The families contend that Walmart’s national business practices create what one judge called a “violent crime magnet” at Walmart, which became worse when Walmart slashed the security presence at its El Paso stores, spending more to prevent petty theft than to protect customers’ lives.
The families sought documentation from Walmart regarding a prior hostage incident at Walmart, store security budgets for El Paso and San Antonio, Black Friday and Tax-Free-Weekend security information and transaction counts for the Cielo Vista Walmart, employee incentive programs for employees with authority over store security, and Cielo Vista Walmart corporate minutes.
Walmart resisted producing these documents, arguing that the documents were not relevant to determining whether a landowner owes a duty to guard against the criminal acts of third parties. The trial court disagreed and ordered Walmart to provide these documents.
Walmart then hired a former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Wallace Jefferson, to represent the retail Goliath on appeal. Jefferson and Walmart sought to overturn the trial Judge’s ruling so that Walmart could avoid disclosure of the evidence.
The Eighth District Court of Appeals in El Paso, Texas determined that the trial court did not abuse its discretion as to the prior hostage incident, the store security budgets, the Black Friday and Tax-Free-Weekend security information, employee incentive program information, and the Cielo Vista Walmart corporate minutes. With respect to the crime-driven policy changes and the third-party safety assessments, the Court of Appeals directed the trial court to simply limit the order as to time and scope.
“Adam did a great job. It’s not easy to go up against the former Chief Judge of the Supreme Court. But this is truly a David vs. Goliath type of case and Adam had right on his side,” said Rob Ammons.
Adam was selected for the 2015-2021 Texas Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, including the “Up and Coming 100” list of the 100 top-ranked “Rising Stars” of the 2021 ratings. He has defeated some of the largest companies in Texas, securing justice for his clients. Adam practices with the Ammons Law Firm and he handles catastrophic injury and death cases throughout the United States